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I have been blogging for almost 3 years now, and have started and grown 2 very different blogs. In those 3 years, through research and through my own experience, I have come to realize the features that every blog should to have to look professional and to be successful.
Sure every blog is different and there really isn’t a one size fits all formula for blogging success, but I am talking about 6 features that EVERY blog needs to have. No matter your niche, size, or level of experience, all 6 of these features will help your blog grow, look professional, and also help to optimize your blogs full potential.
So, let’s jump right in!
6 Must Have Features Every Blog Should Have
1 | An About Me Page + Photo of YOU
You may be surprised to find out that your About Me page is often one of the post popular pages on a blog.
Why is that?
Because people what to know who you are and what your story is when they relate or connect to a post on your blog.
Having your readers connect with you is extremely beneficial for your blog and will often cause a reader to return or even subscribe to your email list. If a reader enjoys your content and your blog is providing them help or a solution to a problem they are facing, they will often be curious who the writer is and what they are all about.
So, what makes a great “About Me” Page? Well, there are really 4 big aspects that you should focus on when creating your “About Me” Page:
- An introduction + Bio: This is where you introduce yourself and tell your story. How did you get started in this “niche” or why are you interested in your blog topic. Some interesting facts about yourself, etc.. This is a great spot to show your personality and make that connection.
- A High Quality Photo: People who read your blog want to see you! Having that old grey avatar appear where your picture should be seems cold and very unrelatable. Also, I recommend taking a high quality photo. When I say high quality, I am not saying you need to go spend $1000 dollars on professional photos. Simply ensure you have some good lighting, and preferably a solid colored background. Basically, You don’t want to use a low quality, dark photo with a whole bunch of clutter behind you.
- An Overview of Your Blogs Purpose: This is where readers can get an idea of what your blog is all about. Why did you start it? What is its purpose? What can they expect from your content? Etc.
- Follow Me Links: It is important that you have social Follow Me Buttons or links on your about me page. If someone comes to your about me page to learn more about you and your blog, chances are they will also visit your Social Media to learn even more, and possibly follow you!
Bonus: Not a necessity, but I also like to include an opt-in box so if someone reads your About Me page and connect with your story & purpose, they can subscribe to stay up to date!
You can check out my About Me Page here for reference!
2 | Clear and Easy Navigation
How annoying is it when you land on an awesome blog post, you are interested in reading more posts on that blog, but you literally cannot find the “BLOG” option or navigate your way about the website.
Make your navigation menu clear and easy to use! You want people to stay on your blog and browse around. If it is too difficult or hard to figure out how to navigate around your blog, people will say screw it and leave. You should have a clear “Read the Blog” option in your main menu and/or your side bar.
People should easily be able to find your:
- About Me Page
- Contact Me Page
- Your Page With All Your Blog Posts
I also recommend including a search bar (or multiple) on your blog. You can easily have one in your sidebar and footer. This gives people the option to search for something if they cannot see it in plain sight.
3 | The Option to Subscribe
I highly recommend you have VARIOUS opt-in options throughout your blog. Your Side bar, every single post, within your navigation menu, as a pop-up. EVERYWHERE!!!!
Now, one thing I will say is while pop-ups are great, stick with one that pops-up after a reader as been on your blog for a little bit. There is nothing worse than landing on a blog post, and before you can even read the first sentence of a post, you get bombarded with an opt-in pop up, and then a module bar at the top of the post drops down for a different opt-in option, and next thing you know there are 45 different opt-in options and you haven’t even gotten the chance to read the blog post yet!
So, what do you think people are going to do in that case? either just close all the opt-in’s without even reading what they are for, simply so they can actually read the post that they came there to read. OR they are just going to leave. Rarely will they subscribe when they know NOTHING about you or your blog, and when a pop-up opt-in shows up the second someone lands on your blog, well, they know NOTHING about you or your blog yet. So, why would they subscribe?
People want to read the post, see that you know what you are talking about and that your advice and content is good, and THEN if a relevant pop-up shows up mid-way through reading a great post, they are more likely so actually subscribe.
The same thing is true with adding an opt-in freebie mid way through or at the end of a blog post. They have read your content, and if they believe it was great, and that your freebie is relevant and can help them even MORE than your content did, they will probably subscribe.
But want to know what won’t get you any subscribers? Not having the opt-in option at all!
If you do not have an email list yet, or you are not utilizing yours to its full potential, please read the related posts below!
4 | Social Media Follow Buttons
As I mentioned in section 2, you need to give people the option to follow you on other platforms. Your readers want to know you and by allowing them to follow you on Instagram, Twitter, etc. you let them get to know you and what you are all about.
Also, if you use Pinterest you want your readers to follow you so they can stay up to date on your latest posts and save your pins. You also want other bloggers in your niche to follow you so they will share your pins to their audience, which will potentially bring you new readers.
Same thing goes with Facebook. If you have a Facebook Group or page dedicated to your blog and you are trying to get people to join and be engaged within that group, making sure it is easy to follow via your blog is important. Your readers are the ones who are most likely to join your Facebook page related to your blog topic.
There are so many different Social Media Follow Button Plugins to choose from, browse them and see what works best for you!
5 | Social Sharing Buttons
Not to be confused with the Social Media Follow Buttons above, you need Social Share Buttons as well. These are the buttons you see within blog posts, usually at the bottom, or floating along the side. Having this feature is a MUST because it allows someone who enjoys your blog post to share that post with their friends, on their social media, etc.
I see it all the time within Facebook ground I am in. New bloggers asking for advice on growing their traffic and then noticing they do not have Social Share buttons on their blog. Sure you can share your own content, but you are missing out on huge traffic opportunity. All it takes is one other blogger in your niche with a large following to share your blog post and make it go viral.
I personally use Social Warfare for my Social Share Buttons. I paid for the pro version ($29 for a year) but they have a free version as well. I wanted to be able to customize my buttons, and they also have a great feature that allows you to control what images are able to be pinned. For less than $2.50 per month I thought it was totally worth it!
6 | A Contact Page
Last, but definitely not least, is a contact page. You should have a page that is solely dedicated to allowing people to contact you. It does not have to be anything fancy at all but you simply need a way for people to be able to reach out to you easily. (Here is mine – nothing fancy at all)
People may want to contact you for a variety of reasons – to work with you, for a sponsored post, to guest post, or just to ask a question or connect.
At the very least have your email accessible on your blog, but I recommend using a contact form plugin to make the process extra easy for people.
So, there you have it! If you are ready to take your blog seriously and want it to come across as professional, then having these 6 features is a must!
What other features do you think are must haves on a blog? Let me know in the comments below!